The Anguish of Afghans in Sacramento

2 years ago 458

California today

Resettled Afghans are struggling to reconcile the conveniences and inexpensive nutrient that situation them successful California with the hunger and deprivation of their relatives successful Afghanistan.

Thomas Fuller

Jan. 7, 2022, 8:45 a.m. ET


Farhad Yousafzai successful  his Elk Grove vicinity  connected  Thursday.
Credit...Max Whittaker for The New York Times

From the infinitesimal helium arrived successful the Bay Area from Afghanistan 8 years ago, beingness successful America was disorienting.

Farhad Yousafzai had served the U.S. authorities arsenic a purchasing manager and came to California to commencement a caller life. On Dec. 31, 2013, a resettlement bureau dropped him and his household disconnected astatine an flat successful Oakland and offered an ominous warning.

“They told us: ‘Oakland unluckily is not the safest place. You guys should not locomotion astir successful the evenings,’” Yousafzai said.

That seemed similar unusual proposal for a household inured to warfare successful Afghanistan, but arsenic the nighttime wore on, and with Yousafzai’s household holed up successful their caller home, they began to perceive a bid of what sounded similar booming explosions and gunfire. Yousafzai wondered whether helium had traded 1 warfare portion for another.

Then, confusingly, the household heard laughter and cheering. They cautiously ventured extracurricular and peered into the street. Someone yelled: “Hey! Happy New Year!”

Yousafzai and his household are present accustomed to the fireworks connected New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July on with different trappings of their American lives. They person since settled successful the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove. That’s wherever I met Yousafzai past August. He owns a tan-colored, five-bedroom location adjacent a park, a assemblage garden, 2 microbreweries, a mosque and a church. And helium runs a palmy concern arsenic an security broker; his bureau serves arsenic a de facto assemblage halfway for the thousands of resettled Afghans who unrecorded successful the Sacramento area.

I stayed successful interaction with Yousafzai successful the 5 months since the abrupt and traumatic United States withdrawal from Afghanistan past summertime and heard the pained laments that inactive echo crossed Afghan communities crossed America: the heartbreak implicit household members near down and expanding desperation and exasperation arsenic their friends reported hunger and economical collapse.

The autumn of Afghanistan to the Taliban came with a peculiarly cruel facet for Afghans astir the world. The net connections successful Afghanistan person remained amazingly robust and the lines of connection betwixt Afghan families and their relatives overseas person remained unfastened adjacent arsenic the Taliban has tightened their grip. For Afghans overseas, this has created an agonizing dichotomy of regular WhatsApp calls and Facebook postings — a deluge of distressing accusation — paired with the helplessness of not being capable to bash overmuch astir it.

Yousafzai and his friends privation to nonstop wealth to relatives, but the banking strategy has each but collapsed. They privation to alert household members retired of Afghanistan, but they person tally up against U.S. extraction efforts manifestly unprepared to assistance them.

In the past respective months, Yousafzai received connection that 2 relatives successful his location colony adjacent Jalalabad had disappeared. A friend’s brother, a doctor, was recovered dead, his assemblage mutilated. Yousafzai has viewed videos of families selling their children retired of desperation and forwarded to maine images of unspeakable atrocities. On Tuesday his woman told him that their erstwhile neighbour reported that helium and his household had not had immoderate nutrient for 3 days.

This cannonade of despair wears connected the Afghan assemblage successful Sacramento similar asphalt dilatory stripping distant a tire’s past treads.

“Every 2nd you get different unspeakable story,” Yousafzai told maine this week. “Day and night, 24 hours, a communicative astir a kidnapped person, a communicative astir a bare person, different substance message, different call.”

He wishes helium could unplug. But helium has sisters to comfortableness successful Afghanistan, friends each implicit the state to enactment successful immoderate mode helium can.

For present Yousafzai says helium volition stay successful his oddly bifurcated world. He sleepwalks done the conveniences of suburban American life. He drives to and from the office, sometimes absent-mindedly making incorrect turns. He pushes a cart done the fluorescent-lit aisles of WinCo, a discount supermarket, filling his cart with the inexpensive bounty of California agriculture: tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, spinach. But his mind, helium says, inactive wanders the dusty streets of eastbound Afghanistan and ponders the privations, and hunger, of household and friends.

Yousafzai says helium tries to wide his caput with walks done his neighborhood. He strolls past the earth-colored homes of his subdivision, down to the collision repair shop, the Amazon warehouse and the carnal shelter.

“I effort to get everything retired of my mind,” helium told me. “But it ne'er goes away.”

The connection was for a luxury vino state edifice implicit a thrust from Calistoga, a assemblage of 1,400 villas and 5 boutique hotels. But successful a ruling this week that could person ramifications for different projects successful areas prone to wildfires, a justice halted the development, saying it could beryllium a decease trap if everyone tried to fly astatine the aforesaid time.


Credit...Allison Zaucha for The New York Times
  • School backing concerns: School territory officials are nervously awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s projected 2022-23 authorities budget, with declining schoolhouse enrollment perchance starring to little funding, CalMatters reports.

  • Legislators quarantine: The talker of the Assembly and different legislators are quarantining aft State Senator Josh Becker tested affirmative for the coronavirus pursuing a farewell enactment for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, The Sacramento Bee reports.


  • Vanessa Bryant: A national justice rejected an effort by Los Angeles County lawyers to disregard Vanessa Bryant’s suit implicit photos taken astatine the country of the chopper clang that killed her girl and husband, Kobe Bryant, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Marijuana raids: San Bernardino County deputies eliminated 93 amerciable marijuana greenhouses and arrested 15 radical implicit a week of raids, The Associated Press reports.

  • Mask mandate change: A alteration to Los Angeles’s disguise mandate volition soon necessitate employers to supply employees with precocious quality, non-cloth masks erstwhile moving indoors, LA Weekly reports.

  • Hollywood manager dies: Peter Bogdanovich, manager of 1970s classics similar “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” died connected Thursday astatine his location successful Los Angeles. He was 82.

  • Super Bowl: Despite surging coronavirus cases, authorities officials and the N.F.L. inactive expect Los Angeles to big Super Bowl LVI adjacent month, Politico reports.


  • Indoor smoking: A caller metropolis instrumentality has made it amerciable to fume oregon vape wrong Fresno flat complexes, The Fresno Bee reports.


  • Powerball winners: The latest Powerball jackpot of $632 cardinal volition beryllium divided by 2 winners, who bought the winning tickets successful Sacramento and Green Bay, Wis., The Associated Press reports.

  • SAT scandal: A Palo Alto mates pleaded blameworthy to paying $25,000 to inflate their son’s SAT score, The Associated Press reports.


Credit...Julia Gartland for The New York Times


Credit...George Rose/Getty Images

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